I've wanted to mark candlemas in years past, but always forgot. This year, I remembered. As I searched for ways to celebrate this feast day, I was struck once again by how the church shares rhythms with nature, and with ancient religions, too. We all look toward the turning of winter and begin to anticipate Spring around this time and whether you're a groundhog or a person you like to notice what's happening season-wise around now. Following the liturgical calendar, I like to be reminded of the story of the gospel, too.
For my part, my interest in candlemas was the tradition of blessing candles that are used throughout the year, making candles and remembering Jesus' presentation at the Temple. I noticed that there were some snowdrops blooming at Lily's school and pointed them out to the kids noting that those flowers start blooming on or near candlemas.
A few things I loved about this day:
I noticed when reading the story of Jesus being dedicated at the temple how Anna and Simeon's reaction to seeing the Messiah was immediate thanksgiving and peace. They didn't have to see all that he did or even witness firsthand his work teaching and healing. They didn't have to see him on the cross or in the upper room later. They saw a baby and were satisfied. In a world where we rarely see justice completely exacted, or fulfillment of all we hope for, what is it to see the Messiah as a baby and be satisfied. Thank God and be at peace.
We made beeswax candles, birthday candle size. And made a large one for ordinary time use in a green glass holder. I loved the idea of making all the birthday candles for the year on this day. They are definitely first tries, but I think we can improve our method and even dye the wax for fun colors in the future.
I learned that candles used in the church are traditionally beeswax, a nod to the worker bee and that Christ is always working, and working for others.